BDes (Hons) Interaction Design

Introduction to Communication Design


In this module we introduce students to the history of communication design. Starting with imagined communication devices of the future (Minority Report, Prometheus…) we rewind, in a single lecture, to the era of cave painting (Lascaux, Chauvet…), demonstrating the connections that bind human communication together.

The remainder of the twelve-week programme, takes the student on a leisurely journey from the past to the present to the future, introducing them on a weekly basis to key points in the history of communication design.

Students are introduced to version control systems, and are assisted in establishing GitHub profiles to act as a repository for their research and writing. By using GitHub and GitHub pages as a vehicle for written content, students are introduced to the fundamental principles of version control, enabling them to work in teams and track other team members’ changes.

The module is intended to introduce students to fundamental study skills, ensuring their transition into university education is managed and phased. The module introduces study skills exercises and embraces group projects to help students build a sense of community.


The essential aims of this module are:

  • To equip students with an awareness and understanding of both historical and contemporary movements in communication design.
  • To ensure students recognise the relationship between history and theory, and practice.
  • To equip students with core study skills enabling them to transition into self-directed study.
  • To introduce students to working in teams, ensuring they are equipped with the skills required to manage the challenges this poses.
  • To introduce students to the idea of version control (Git, Subversion…), enabling them to work as part of a team, tracking different team members’ contributions.


This module equips students with a comprehensive understanding of the history of communication design. Through a series of connected lectures, students are introduced to the breadth and depth of communication approaches, intended to inform their practical work.

In addition to the lecture content students are introduced to study skills, the dynamics of working in teams, and the importance of version control through a series of seminars. The module combines studio and lab content with online resources, providing additional support and opportunities to build upon knowledge acquired during workshops.

Indicative lecture content includes:

  • 20,000 Years in One Hour
  • Cave Paintings to Illuminated Manuscripts
  • Gutenberg and Moveable Type
  • A Century of Change
  • Dada and Propaganda in Design
  • Revolution and The Bauhaus
  • WWII and Modernism in the US
  • The International Style
  • Postmodernism
  • The Rise of the Machines
  • The Here and Now
  • Fictional User Interfaces and Beyond

Reading List


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Module details

  • Code: IXD102
  • Year: 1
  • Semester: 1
  • Credits: 20
  • Delivery: Lectures, Seminars, Workshops and Self-Directed Study
  • Co-requisites: Interaction Design Fundamentals
  • GitHub Repo